Local News

Jeff Carlson's attorney again trying to suppress alcohol evidence

SEBRING - Jeff Carlson's attorney is again asking that the evidence against his client be thrown out. Carlson, a Sebring accountant, was also a Highlands County commissioner on the night of July 24, 2010, when his 22-foot boat crashed into a channel marker near Capt. Hiram's Restaurant in Sebastian. His wife, Julie, 38, was killed. Witnesses told Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators Carlson had been drinking. Judge Robert Pegg rejected the motions of Carlson's first attorney, Kirk Kirkconnell, to suppress that evidence. However, Kirkconnell died late last year and was replaced by his former law partner, Michael Snure.
Charged with boating manslaughter, Carlson was scheduled to stand trial on April 8, but a required evidentiary hearing was never scheduled. Instead, the judge accepted Snure's motion to continue the case until July 25 while more depositions were taken. Carlson registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.076 percent, just under Florida's minimum impairment level of 0.08. However, his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was probably between 0.11 and 0.15, according to Laura Barfield, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement toxicologist. On Monday, Pegg will consider three more motions to supress the evidence. Carlson contendeds that investigators had illegally taken alcohol bottles from the boat. gpinnell@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5828